Daufuskie Island offers a rich cultural experience, with its environmental preserves, quaint Gullah houses, and diverse art galleries. Archaeologists have traced the inhabited history of the island back 9,000 years and have discovered pottery remnants dating back to 7,000 BC. The first inhabitants were the peaceful Cusabo Indians.
In 1664, English sea captain William Hilton first sailed the waters of the South Carolina coast and English traders soon followed and settled in the area. During the Yamassee War of 1715–1717, the island was the scene the famous “Daufuskie Fight.” When the American Revolution broke out in 1776, residents of Daufuskie who were loyalists to Great Britain, staged an attack on Hilton Head’s Skull Creek. In retaliation the “Bloody Legion” of Hilton Head ambushed numerous homes on Daufuskie. After the Civil War, hero Patrick Comer was assigned to be the keeper of the famous Haig Point lighthouse on Daufuskie. The island is also the setting of Pat Conroy’s novel “The Water Is Wide,” recounting Conroy’s experiences teaching African American children at the island’s one-room schoolhouse. In 1974, the famous motion picture “Conrack” based on the book, was filmed on the island.
At the Billie Burn Museum (843.686.4824), visitors can pick up a free guide and map which highlights the island’s historical points of interest: The Gullah Learning Center, various tabby ruins, the haunted lighthouse, historic cemeteries, the Marys Field two-room school house, and the old logging railroad line.